Bad weather may prove no problem in BMW’s new 3 series Estate but the price might writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? There may be an insatiable appetite for rugged off roaders with a commanding view of the road but there is still case to be made for the lifestyle estate as a spacious and practical family car. BMW’s new 3 series touring is set to raise the bar all over again in the premium compact estate segment.
Who is it aimed at? Reassuringly BMW’s 3 series estate comes with all-wheel xdrive, a four-wheel-drive system to keep you sure-footed in all road and weather conditions so if you are looking for better grip during winter but don’t want to opt for a bulky SUV this could be the perfect compromise.
Styling? From the outside the changes are subtle and many of the styling tweaks may go unnoticed but do include a revamped kidney grille. The headlights now extend all the way up to the grille while Adaptive LED headlights with U-shaped daytime driving lights are standard. BMWs new 3 Touring is now also bigger, taller and longer, not in a way you will notice when parking but rear-seat passengers will welcome the additional space. Black roof rails give it an adventurous-looking exterior and are standard on all models.
Under the Bonnet? Powering our test car is a six-cylinder diesel engine but there is also a range of petrol and other diesel engines to choose from.
What about inside? Once behind the wheel, the seats are pure luxury and beautifully supportive. As you would expect in this price range the cabin is high quality and while it is faultless it doesn’t have the wow factor of some rivals plus the digital instrument cluster proves fiddly. Space is good throughout and the boot comes with a decent 500-litres so will tick all the right boxes. Families will welcome the automatic tailgate operation, the flexible luggage compartment cover and the boot partition net but my favourite party piece is the rear window which opens separately, allowing smaller objects to be placed in the boot even if there isn’t enough room to open the tailgate.
What’s new? This new model comes with your own PA, well almost. By simply saying, “Hey BMW” you can command the car to do a host of things even find the quickest route to your favourite restaurant.
On the Road? BMW’s rear-wheel-drive system can prove a challenge in poor weather but the xdrive system offers much better traction in adverse weather condition so only adds to the appeal of this car. On the road, it is solid and effortless to drive and the eight-speed automatic transmission is deliciously smooth.
And Safety? Plenty of airbags and a comprehensive range of safety features, including Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, Active Cruise Control and lots more will keep you and your passengers safe.
What are my options? Three trim level are offered: SE, Sport and M Sport, Features to help make every journey that little bit special include a restyled leather sport steering wheel with multifunction buttons and thumb rests. Our test car specified in the new M Sport Plus Edition added extras including sun protect glazing and Adaptive M Sport suspension but as with all BMWs, you can add just about everything from their extensive but expensive options list.
Will it break the bank? Well that depends which model you go for, the range starts at €45,340 but our test model will set you back an eye-watering €78,108. It’s not therefore for those on a tight budget but it is frugal and returns around 5.5 litres per 100 km.
So the verdict? The humble and often overlooked estate car may be synonymous with words such as “functional” and “sensible” but spend a short time behind the wheel of one and the touring lifestyle is particularly appealing. Overall, it is hard not to come away impressed by the 3-Series Touring and it will tick many boxes as a sophisticated estate fusing practicality with rural ruggedness. For those who want a diesel alternative, a plug-in hybrid will join the Touring line-up in summer 2020.
What It Says About You? You want practicality and style without taking up half the road
Why you’ll buy one? Stylish, driving dynamics
Why you won’t? Pricey, ride may be a little too firm for some
Audi’s A4 Avant
Ford Mondeo Estate
VW Passat Estate
Mercedes C Class Estate
BMW 3 Series Touring auto: 330d xDrive M Sport Plus
Engine: 2,933cc, 265bhp
Max speed: 250 km/h
0-100 kph: 5.4 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax): 146-140 g/km (€390)
Model price range: Price from €45,340 (Test Car – Price before options: €69,530; As Tested: €78,108.87.)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP: 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 5.6 – 5.4 l/100km
Boot Capacity Seats up(down): 500 litres (1510)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Length: 4,709 mm
Width: 1,827 mm
Height: 1,440 mm
21st January 2020